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Royal visit to Crawley for official opening

HRH The Countess of Wessex officially opened the South East Coast Ambulance Service’s new Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) and Headquarters.

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Crawley welcomed a member of the Royal family today (Tues 8th May) as HRH The Countess of Wessex visited the town to officially open the South East Coast Ambulance Service’s new Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) and Headquarters.

Arriving by helicopter at Hazelwick school, the Countess was greeted by the head girl and boy before travelling by car to the new headquarters where she was welcomed by staff and local leaders.

HRH The Countess of Wessex meets Crawley Mayor Brian Quinn and Chief Executive of Crawley Borough Council Natalie Brahma-Pearl.

With the sun shining the Countess was greeted by a large number of staff from the new HQ, all of whom had waited patiently in the hot sun.

Crawley MP Henry Smith welcomes the Countess.

After greeting and chatting with several local dignitaries the Countess was then taken on a tour of the new facility where she was able to speak to numerous staff about the complexities of their job.

HRH The Countess of Sussex is presented with a bouquet of flowers by resource despatcher Megan Chinery.

The royal visit was very popular with staff from all departments.

SECAmb Chief Executive Daren Mochrie with HRH The Countess of Wessex next to the unveiled plaque officially opening the new HQ.

Staff began moving into the new building in May 2017 with staff from the Trust’s former EOC in Lewes the first to relocate. EOC colleagues from the Trust’s former site in Banstead in Surrey moved to the new building in September.

The impressive home to South East Coast Ambulance Service’s new Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) and Headquarters in Crawley.

The moves provided greater capacity across two EOCs and ensured SECAmb is better placed to manage current and future demand.

It also meant support services were brought under one roof for the first time since the formation of SECAmb in 2006 with the merger of Kent, Surrey and Sussex ambulance services.

The centre, with SECAmb’s other EOC in Coxheath, Kent, typically handles more than 2,000 calls every day.

The new EOC is home to some 250 staff with a further 250 support staff based on the floor above.
999 calls are answered by emergency medical advisors non-geographically across the Trust’s two EOCs. Ambulances are dispatched locally from each EOC.

A team of clinicians are also on hand in each EOC to provide advice and support to patients and colleagues.

SECAmb Chief Executive Daren Mochrie said:

“I’m delighted that our new EOC and HQ was officially opened by HRH The Countess of Wessex and I pleased to be able to show her around the EOC and introduce her to staff.

Given the significance of the tremendous work which goes on in the building and in particular in the EOC itself, it is appropriate that it receives this high-profile official opening.

“While it was important that we moved to the new building and the benefits it brings, I want to pay tribute to all the staff, across every department and role who are working tirelessly day-in, day-out to help our patients.

Without them, of course, this is just another building. With them, and their dedication and professionalism, we are a service which saves lives and helps people every day.”

Henry Smith

Henry Smith MP asks, “Are you Crawley’s best small shop?”

The Best Small Shops competition is open to any small shop operating in the UK.

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Henry Smith MP is calling on Crawley’s small shopkeepers to enter the Best Small Shops competition, celebrating the creativity of small shops and the central role they play in their local community.

The Best Small Shops competition is open to any small shop operating in the UK. The competition is free to enter and all shops who enter will also be promoted to consumers through an online Indie Retail Directory.

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Shopkeepers can nominate their businesses until Sunday 9 September via: www.bestsmallshops.co.uk.

Henry said:

“The vital contribution of Crawley’s small shops can be celebrated in a national Best Small Shops competition.

“This initiative is being run by the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) and is open to any small shop operating in the UK.

“I’m calling on Crawley’s shopkeepers to nominate their businesses. More information, including on how to enter, is at: www.bestsmallshops.co.uk. Applications are open until 9th September.

“An expert judging panel will then put together a shortlist of 25 of the best applications. They’ll be looking for evidence of a small shops’ entrepreneurial spirit, ways they have been innovative in their business and what they have done to have a positive lasting impact on the local community.

“Shortlisted small shops will be invited to a parliamentary reception later in the year to find out which one will be crowned 2018’s Best Small Shop.

“Good luck to Crawley shops taking part!”

A shortlist of 25 of the most impressive applications will be compiled by a panel made up of established representatives from the independent retail industry.

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The judges will be looking for evidence of a small shops’ entrepreneurial spirit, ways that they have been innovative in their business and what they have done to have a lasting positive impact on their community.

The shortlisted small shops will be invited to a parliamentary reception in November to find out who will be crowned the Best Small Shop for 2018.

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